A letter from Tom Harvey in England
Dear Friends and Partners in Mission,
It has been our most challenging, yet most productive year at OCMS (the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies). This year we have faced incredible challenges: a delicate move of the programme from the University of Wales to Middlesex University in London, transferring 80 doctoral students seamlessly, redesigning our programme first to fit changes at the University of Wales, then to conform to Middlesex University, and finally to meet the requirements for accreditation with the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). Failure on any of these could have seriously damaged our institution and thus our students. Instead, it has resulted in a stronger and more efficient institution, which was commended across the board by the QAA.
More important, we see a steady growth of interest in OCMS. We have seen our applications to the programme triple in the last two years. In a world where higher education and graduate research is rapidly changing, OCMS finds itself at the cutting edge, having forged relevant research in practical Christian mission engagement and transformation. Rather than being an esoteric distraction to traditional religious research, research at OCMS is attracting researchers who are missionaries, church leaders, development specialists, microfinance officers, and even mining engineers who are using their research to grapple with the practical issues bedeviling communities. This research is revealing not only the relevance of the gospel, but also the critical need for and effectiveness of informed action. With our major institutional hurdles now behind us, our full focus will now turn to fulfilling the surprising vocation of OCMS.
Joining Middlesex University (MU) is the fulfillment of prayer and prudence. MU has a solid reputation in UK higher education. Ranked higher than the University of Wales, it will enhance OCMS’s solid reputation in research degrees and greatly enhance MU as a leading research university in theology and missiology. The London School of Theology, very likely the best-regarded evangelical theological institution in the UK, and Oak Hill School of Theology, one of the key institutions recognized by the Church of England, have their degrees validated by MU. Thus, MU offers a good "home" for Christian-based higher education research institutions. Unlike the University of Wales students, as MU students our scholars will be granted full privileges of the university including access to MU library facilities and online learning around the globe.
Several exciting developments in this regard:
- OCMS will be hosting in August 2013 the 6th annual Symposium on Christianity in China. This will be examining ideological trends in China and the growing influence of Christianity. It will attract scholars from leading universities across China, Asia, Europe and North America as well as church leaders from both the official government churches and the huge but officially illegal house churches of China. Our location in Oxford not only allows a neutral venue for church leaders to meet outside of China, it also serves as a magnet to key intellectual leaders to come and contribute to the better understanding and development of Christianity in China. OCMS, through our monogram Regnum Books, will publish volumes of a Chinese and English compendium of the papers presented, which will then be available to seminaries in China and to theological libraries around the globe.
- The launch of Lausanne Global Analysis, a bimonthly journal addressing critical issues that impact church and society around the globe, was launched in November 2012. Tom serves on the editorial board and has authored an article on how nervous governments around the globe are attempting to police the Internet and social media to stifle political dissent and religious activity and what implications this has for the Christian engagement globally.
- Tom has been asked to serve as the Biblical and Theological section editor of a comprehensive compendium on Diaspora Missiology that will be published in 2015. This will be the first major compendium addressing the implications of the changing demographics of modern urban life and immigration and what their implications are for mission and ministry.
In terms of the family, Judy has continued to be active in ministry in Oxford. She is completing a course in Spiritual Direction, developing a potential mentoring ministry through our local church, and has begun an outreach to “empty nesters” for women whose children have now moved away from home to work or studies. She ran a half marathon in October under two hours.
Emma is in her second year at Durham University and doing well. Joe is working as Research Associate at the Duke Fuqua School of Business and is currently preparing to apply to do doctoral research in behavioral economics. Paul continues his work at Camp Cameron in North Carolina with Baptist Children’s Homes. Paul recently took his campers on a 100-mile excursion by canoe down the Sewanee River through Georgia and Florida.
We look forward to being together as a family for Christmas here in Oxford.
In terms of prayer requests, do remember the following:
- Tom will need partial knee replacement surgery in December (the years of tennis playing are beginning to add up)
- Judy in the development of ministry at St Andrews Church
- Joe in his applications to graduate school
- Paul in his work with the camp and guidance as he ponders his next step after Camp Cameron
We do wish to thank you for your support and prayers. In each of the challenges that we have encountered here in Oxford we have seen God’s hand at work through the prayers and support of our brothers and sisters back home. Seeing doors open that appeared closed, hurdles that appeared insurmountable made level, weariness give way to surprising resurgence are but reminders of the wonderful grace and fulfillment that is made possible through your intercession on our behalf. Thank you and may you be blessed in this time when we take time to honor the birth of our Lord who took on human flesh to holistically transform his creation.
Tom, Judy, Joe, Paul and Emma
Address: 25 Hayfield Road
Oxford OX2 6TX England
Tom’s e-mail: email@example.com (or use the link below)
Judy’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (or use the link below)
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 268
The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 278'
How to support the Harveys
Individuals may direct their contributions to one or both of the ECO (Extra Commitment Opportunity) accounts that support our work:
For salary and living support write the ECO number (E200358) on the subject line with our name (or use the link above to donate online).
For program support, for Oxford Center for Mission Studies, write the ECO number E052057 on the subject line of the check and our name (or use the link above to donate online).
All ECO checks should be sent to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Individual Remittance Processing
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
Congregations may send through your normal receiving site.